The largest cable and broadband provider
in America just got slammed with a $2.3-million fine, the largest civil
fine ever levied against a cable company, for over billing its customers. Honestly, this whole thing sounds like the cable company version of Wells Fargo.
Okay. It’s bad news. I talked with the chieftain. They want to throw you into the volcano. They say it’s a tradition. A sacrifice. It appeases their God. Makes their crops crow. Keeps plagues away. Gives them stronger WiFi. Provides better hunting for the-huh? Yeah, stronger WiFi and better hunting for the village. I can’t help you escape. They’d kill me. Plus, this WiFi is shoddy as fuck. Can’t get an email for help out. You dying would fix that. They told me that. Showed me charts and graphs. After a sacrifice, the WiFi is crazy good. Good upload and download. Once you die, I’ll send an email to your family. Already have one in drafts. It’s good. Talks about your noble sacrifice. Has a bunch of pics and a video. It’ll send real fast once you’ve melted. C’mon, just do it. Hop into Mount Comcast. You’ll die fast. Not 50 MBps fast. But fast. Think about it. The chieftain said he’d come get you between noon and 6 PM. Bullshit, right? What a weird village.
“The company’s acquisition of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s animation powerhouse brings promise and problems as animators fear layoffs and cost-cutting: ‘They’re going to be paying for lunch from now on.’
If you listen closely, you can hear a hint of pessimism in the predictions of Steve Hulett, business rep of the Animation Guild, about what will happen after NBCUniversal completes its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. Thanks to the Walt Disney Co.’s 2006 purchase of Pixar Animation Studios, for example, Hulett has seen versions of this movie before.
'Usually they spend a period of time trying to soothe nervous hearts,’ says Hulett of acquirers. 'They lie to the crew because they’ve got a picture to get out, and they can’t have people jumping ship. … They use whatever argument they can use to calm you down, [but] I suspect there will be 200 or 300 fewer people working there in the next 18 months.’
DWA is a union shop, and NBCU’s animation operation, Illumination Entertainment, isn’t. The guild has 565 members in feature animation at DWA and 281 in television. Hulett expects features to bear the brunt of the cuts while television will hold or grow.
NBCU CEO Steve Burke has been vague about the company’s plans for DWA, though the well-liked but thrifty Chris Meledandri, who runs Universal’s successful Illumination (Minions, Despicable Me), will be in charge. Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal’s film group, tells The Hollywood Reporter he admires DWA’s movie and television work, adding, 'Hopefully, we can find a way to do the same-quality films for a lower price.’
A studio insider says one engine for the deal — besides Shell’s admitted 'Disney envy’ and NBCU parent Comcast’s desire to stock its theme parks with fresh characters and other intellectual property — was the belief that DWA’s Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon are 'four franchises that aren’t over yet.'”